Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, seen here in 2012, said Friday she would be asking the court for authorization to begin an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan. (Photo: Foundation Max van der Stoel/flickr/cc)

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, seen here in 2012, said Friday she would be asking the court for authorization to begin an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan. (Photo: Foundation Max van der Stoel/flickr/cc)

'Seminal Moment' as ICC Chief Prosecutor Seeks Probe of US War Crimes in Afghanistan

"Whatever the court decides about the role of U.S. forces, the people in Afghanistan who have suffered enormously for decades deserve the world's attention. More importantly, they deserve justice."

Andrea Germanos

In a move that could implicate U.S. military forces and the C.I.A., the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Friday said she would be asking the Hague-based body to begin a probe of possible war crimes committed in Afghanistan.

"This is a seminal moment for the ICC," said Solomon Sacco, head of international justice at Amnesty International. "Justice for victims of the Afghanistan conflict has taken far too long to arrive, but investigations like this one are the reason the Court was set up—to provide a last chance for justice when states parties have failed to deliver it."

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says in her statement, "Following a meticulous preliminary examination of the situation, I have come to the conclusion that all legal criteria required under the Rome Statute to commence an investigation have been met," noting that "there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan."

The time frame for the probe, she said, "will focus solely upon war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed since 1 May 2003 on the territory of Afghanistan as well as war crimes closely linked to the situation in Afghanistan allegedly committed since 1 July 2002 on the territory of other States Parties to the Rome Statute."

(Though the U.S. is not a state party to the ICC, Afghanistan is, as are Lithuania, Poland, and Romania—home to U.S. "black sites"—giving the court the jurisdiction over crimes committed in those countries.)

Bensouda's statement does not call out specific actors to be targeted; however, in her preliminary report to the court issued nearly one year ago, she said her

[o]ffice has determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that, at a minimum, the following crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction have occurred: a. Crimes against humanity and war crimes by the Taliban and their affiliated Haqqani Network; b. War crimes of torture and related ill-treatment by Afghan government forces, in particular the intelligence agency (National Directorate for Security), and the Afghan National Police; c. War crimes of torture and related ill-treatment, by U.S. military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, principally in the 2003-2004 period, although allegedly continuing in some cases until 2014.

"This step toward opening an investigation is long overdue," declared Param-Preet Singh, the associate director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice Program.

"Whatever the court decides about the role of U.S. forces," she continues, "the people in Afghanistan who have suffered enormously for decades deserve the world's attention. More importantly, they deserve justice."

If Bensouda gets the judicial authorization needed to go forward, she promises that her "office will investigate, within its mandate and means, in an independent, impartial, and objective way, crimes within the Court's jurisdiction allegedly committed by any party to the armed conflict."

Writing at Just Security, Harvard Law School professor Alex Whiting argues that the go-ahead from the judges is likely, but the investigation will be "difficult, if not nearly impossible," given the cooperation needed by states to gather the necessary evidence. 

The probe, he added, could "last for years."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·


West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·


'Texans Deserved Better Than This': Supreme Court Leaves Abortion Ban in Place

The nation's high court set a date to hear a pair of legal challenges to the "horrific" restrictions.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like It Never Happened': Federal Judge Tosses Trump Attack on Clean Water Rule

Denying a Biden administration request to temporarily retain the rule, the judge reestablished "the careful balance of state and federal power to protect clean water that Congress intended when it wrote the Clean Water Act."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo